Democrat Good takes Florida House 72 seat

Vote total — 44,188 — is more than half the number cast for the seat in the 2016 General Election

With voter turnout hitting the 36.06% mark on Feb. 13, Democrat Margaret Good won the Florida House 72 seat that state Rep. Alex Miller of Sarasota officially gave up on Sept. 1 2017. Good took 52.17% of the total number of votes cast, with Republican James Buchanan in second place, winning 44.8%, according to unofficial returns reported by the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office. (Read more »)

On Feb. 20, City Commission to discuss Mote’s plans for $130-million aquarium at Nathan Benderson Park

Commissioner Brody protests Mote’s proposal, pointing to 2014 plan for bayfront facility

Just hours after Mote Marine President and CEO Michael Crosby announced plans for a new $130-million aquarium on the grounds of Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota City Commissioner Hagan Brody sent an email to City Manager Tom Barwin and City Auditor and Clerk Pamela Nadalini. (Read more »)

Evacuations of all people in vulnerable areas should be top priority with a hurricane looming, former FEMA administrator tells community leaders

Clear, simple communications also key to preventing serious injuries and deaths

When a major hurricane is bearing down on Sarasota County, local government leaders have to ensure that everyone in an area prone to storm surge has been evacuated, Craig Fugate, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator from 2009 to 2017, told about 85 community leaders on Feb. 9. (Read more »)

Proposed lease renewal for county-owned property in Nokomis sparks County Commission discussion about urgency of selling surplus lands

Commissioner Moran points out that $900-a-month lease is for property that could be worth more than $800,000 on the tax rolls

Sarasota County commissioners voiced frustration this week that county staff is not moving fast enough to identify every potential parcel the county can sell to improve its fiscal health. County Administrator Jonathan Lewis — who did not officially become administrator until mid-January — told the board members on Feb. 13 that staff is “going through a more in-depth version of what was done last year on the surplus property [issue].” (Read more »)

New Central Energy Plant to be built on part of surface lot at county’s Ringling Boulevard parking garage

County Commission asks staff to return on Feb. 27 with information to speed up design and construction

On one unanimous vote this week, the Sarasota County Commission approved the recommendation of staff and consultants to construct the new Central Energy Plant (CEP) on part of the surface lot adjacent to the county’s parking garage in downtown Sarasota. (Read more »)

Ringling College given until June 30 to comply with terms for $1,750,000 county grant for post-production facility

Extension requested because of delay in completing the complex on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way

With the completion of the Ringling College of Art + Design’s post-production facility having been delayed until late June, the County Commission this week agreed to give the educational institution more time to use the $987,653 remaining from a 2016 grant the commission awarded the school for the project. (Read more »)

County Commission approves contract for design of new water line to build upon Peace River Authority’s expanded service

Commissioner Moran urges county administration to seek water management district funding whenever possible to lessen county costs

The Sarasota County Commission this week approved a project that will provide the community with a new pipeline for its water system. Formally, on Feb. 13, the board agreed to pay the Kimley-Horn and Associates consulting firm in Sarasota $1,204,242 to design a transmission line that will extend north from an area just south of Clark Road and east of Cow Pen Slough. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota hoping for FEMA funds out of Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to assist with emergency project on South Lido Key Beach

Earlier FEMA grant — for Hurricane Hermine damage — is too little to cover renourishment costs

Last week, when Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, it earmarked $23.5 billion to replenish the primary fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses for recovery and repair programs in the aftermath of natural disasters. That gave City of Sarasota Engineer Alexandrea DavisShaw hope that the city finally might be able to secure enough grant funds for an emergency beach renourishment project on Lido Key, she told The Sarasota News Leader this week. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Final testing underway at new master pump station; Kompothecras arrested for DUI; Make Siesta Drive Safer wins SKA endorsement; Condo Council undertaking paid beach parking survey; Condo Council meeting set for Feb. 20; SKFRAC donates vehicle and equipment to Fire Department; Holderness takes responsibility for cigarette butt litter signs; county grant program continuing to reduce cigarette litter; and deaths of prominent island residents marked

The last major tie-in of sewer pipeline from the north end of the island to the new master pump station on Siesta Key has been completed, Sarasota County’s Water/Wastewater Division manager told The Sarasota News Leader this week. “Everything associated with putting that pump station into operation is installed,” Dave Cash said during a Feb. 12 telephone interview. (Read more »)

Countywide adult learn-to-swim initiative announced

Swim school celebrates 35th anniversary with project launch

Miracle Swimming for Adults (MSA) has announced its plan to teach all non-swimming adults in Sarasota County to be safe in water over their heads, beginning with classes at its pool this spring. (Read more »)

Paid-parking program implemented in Palm Avenue and State Street garages in Sarasota

First three hours remain free; no fee charged on Sundays and city-observed holidays

“A new generation of parking access equipment” has been installed in the City of Sarasota’s State Street and Palm Avenue parking garages, providing users with up to three hours of complimentary parking and a simplified fee system after that initial period, the city has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota County School District accepting School Choice requests through March 16

Sarasota County students who apply will not be displaced by those living outside the county

The Sarasota County District is inviting parents and guardians, from any school district in the state, whose children are not subject to a current expulsion or suspension to apply for a 2018-19 School Choice assignment to a public school identified as having available space capacity, the district has announced. Applications for School Choice will be available through Friday, March 16, a news release says. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota launches redesigned website

Site allows immediate changes in the event of emergencies, and the search option has been streamlined

The City of Sarasota has launched a redesigned website with an emphasis on mobility, search options and streamlining information, the city has announced. “With the sharp new look, comes a new url: SarasotaFL.Gov  (No need to type “www” —just SarasotaFL.Gov),” a news release points out. (Read more »)

Florida Department of Health encouraging employers to increase commitment to workers’ well being

15 worksites have won Healthy Sarasota County Worksite designation

Because people often spend more time at work than anywhere else, and decisions and habits reinforced in a healthful worksite “can transcend into other aspects of life,” the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County works with companies “to assist their employees on their journey to health,” the department has pointed out. (Read more »)

City and County of Sarasota administrative offices to close for Presidents Day, Feb. 19

Waste collection schedule will not be affected

City of Sarasota administrative offices and most Sarasota County Government offices will be closed Monday, Feb. 19, in observance of Presidents Day, the local governments have announced. Garbage, recycling and yard waste pickup will continue as regularly scheduled. (Read more »)